We recently paid a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set. Hobbiton, which attracts the Lord of the Rings fanatics and movie buffs from around the world, is located on a scenic private farm near Matamata in the Waikato region of the North Island.It’s an easy stop to include in a campervan itinerary where you’re travelling from Auckland to Rotorua or vice versa. The attraction features a two-hour guided tour of the movie set as seen in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. Afterwards, you can enjoy a drink and snack at the Shire's Rest Cafe before continuing on your campervan rental holiday. There’s also a souvenir store with some great Lord of the Rings and Hobbit mementoes to take home.
Of course, Hobbiton isn’t the only New Zealand destination with a Lord of the Rings flavour. New Zealand landscapes were truly brought into the international spotlight thanks to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. If you’re a film buff, you’ll be captivated by the scenery and attractions around New Zealand, many of which you’ll recognise from the movies. Here are some other ways to include Lord of the Rings highlights in your New Zealand campervan rental holiday. Combine them all into one trip, and you have a Lord of the Rings-themed itinerary which you can easily fit into a three-week campervan tour of New Zealand.
The volcanic cones of the central North Island featured as Mt Doom and Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies. Take a scenic flight over Tongariro National Park (New Zealand’s oldest National Park and a World Heritage Site) to view truly dramatic landscapes. You’ll get great views of the live craters of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu, as well as the spectacular Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama Lakes.
The Weta Cave in Miramar, Wellington, gives visitors exclusive insight into the creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art of Weta, the genius behind the characters and props from some of the world’s best-loved movies. See props and displays in the museum, find information about the artists who created them and learn the stories of how they were brought to life.
And good news - entry to the Weta Cave is free!
Flat Earth offers specialised tours of Wellington based around The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. You’ll see where the hobbits raced to the ferry and hid from the Nazgul, through the elf kingdom of Rivendell and beside the Fords of Isen. Highlights include Lothlorien, the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, and the sites of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith. The tour also includes a visit to the Weta in Miramar.
Jens Hansen was Creator of the One Ring for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Visitors have the opporunity to try on some of the 40 different rings that were used in the movies, including Galadriel's ring, Gandalf's ring and the true One Ring.
Nomad Safaris operate two different Lord of the Rings tours of the Queenstown region, which featured prominently in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Safari of the Scenes - Wakatipu (Tour A) combines film locations from the LOTR trilogy with a true 4WD tour. The Safari of the Scenes - Glenorchy (Tour B) is a sightseeing trip through the valleys beyond Glenorchy encompassing some key Lord of the Rings Scenes. For a truly memorable experience, both Safaris of the Scenes can be done in one day.